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About Project:

Team Members :

Ritvik Vasan, Akshay Menon, ShauryaKaushal, ShrutiRijhwani, Vishaal D.B.

Institute Name: BITS Pilani

Report : 

According to a WHO report, out of 1.4 billion people living in 11 South East Asian countries, 1.2 billion are exposed to the risk of malaria, most of whom live in India. In fact, South East Asia contributes to 2.5 million cases relating to malaria, with India accounting for 76 %. Current diagnosis tools require the use of expensive microscopes and/ or inaccurate RDTs to detect the same. Thus, Malaria diagnosis is thus a complicated and omnipotent problem. In this project, we utilize the concept of cellphone microscopy to solve it. With more than 6.5 billion cellphone subscribers worldwide and approximately 1.6 billion new devices being sold each year, cellphone technology would be most suited to provide portable and accessible diagnostic capabilities all over the country. The product will be a cheap, lens based attachment to the phone that can accurately detect the presence of malaria in a blood sample. In the future, we also hope to come out with a lens free model that is both cheap and accurate. Once the image is obtained on the phone, image processing software would further contrast the image by using Histogram algorithm, and detect the presence of the leishman stained malaria. The entire product will be a clip on attachment that is compatible with all phones of any magnification.

Details :

More often than not, hospitals all over the world do not have access to expensive microscopes and spectroscopes, and those that do have access take significant amount of time to get the image processed, printed, and then delivered to patients. The Cellphone microscope/ spectrometer is a cell phone that can be used as a portable, cheap and high resolution microscope and a spectrometer, built using cheap and easily available parts.

This device will serve as a portable, detachable substitute for expensive medical equipment, to be used by any medical or non-medical personnel with a phone, in the world. It can be used in healthcare in the developing world or in education anywhere as a low cost, easy to use microscope. In education, it will have applications in schools, colleges as lab equipment (microscope, spectroscope) carried by students. The spectrometer can be used for analyzing and quantifying materials observed. (Example – measuring the amount of iron in blood.) High resolution Images taken (after editing using Photoshop) can be transmitted easily from doctor to doctor using the Internet. The device can also be applied to study of the environment. Consumers could use the instant microscope when out and about to examine the leaves of trees and plants, for example, or study insects.

It involves fixing an adjustable spherical lens to the eyepiece of a phone camera (adjusted using a small pulley system), which in turn is attached to a PVC pipe that terminates with a slide holder. Photos of a specimen are then taken using the phone camera. (With the flash on, to brighten the specimen) Another detachable component will be the spectroscope, which is a diffraction grating fitted in a similar manner to the eye-piece of the phone camera, with an identical arrangement of PVC pipe, slider holder and slide.

The magnification can be done using a 1 mm diameter ball lens, attached over the lens of the phone with a rubber base acting as an iris, which achieves a magnification of 350x.

To double up as a spectrometer, 1000 lines per mm diffraction grating cut into the required size can be placed over the camera lens. Black insulation tape with a slit of about 1mm should be placed over the grating, in alignment with the grating’s grooves to prevent spreading. A PVC pipe is then attached over the lens, with the end attached to the lens. The inside of the tube should be a black matte finish to prevent light reflection. The open end of the tube is covered with black insulation tape and a slit of about 1 mm in it, in the direction parallel to the grooves of the grating.

photo 1 – the colour distribution show diffracted white light form a typical light splitting spectrometer.

Photo 2 – Compares the intensity of different wavelengths of a fluorescent bulb by itself, and as an aimage taken by an iphone.

The materials that we will be using are easily available and cost effective. The diffraction grating is priced at less than Rs. 50 per strip and the spherical lenses are available for Rs. 50 to Rs. 500. PVC pipes can be taken from the mechanical lab, while final polishing paper can be obtained from the workshop.

There is a lot of scope for further research in the field.  This project, if successful, would provide a detachable component that could easily be attached to any phone – smart phone or not. In our project, we will be using a smart phone  because of the high resolution camera. Functioning as both a microscope and a spectroscope, this component can be extended into a mobile app that would furthur calculate percentage composition, identify the material being observed etc and any other relevant medical details. (The project is primarily targeted at medical applications, but as i have already mentioned, it has a number of other applications) It is also possible to use the app to hold a databank of photos taken across the world using this detachable component. Being a cheap and portable research instrument, we will first target the education spectrum – sell the cellscope in schools and colleges to students. (since a mobile attachment with an additional free app available on purchase of the product is generally appealing to students with smart phones) Then, we will sell the product to the general populace with increase in popularity.

The single lens off chip cell phone microscopy method designed at MIT media labs has a low sensitivity due to insufficient magnification (max 7.13X) (Schaefer, 2012). It also takes more time as the phone must be moved around the slide to capture a complete image which can be stitched together. Low cost ($5 – $10, excluding phone) and low automation (phone must be manually held) are the other characteristics associated with it.

Cellscope, the lens based cellphone microscope designed at Berkeley has high sensitivity (only for Tuberculosis) and takes very little time (~4-5 minutes) (Breslauer, 2009). Setup cost is high as microscope components like objective lens are expensive. Automation levels are high and the slide is placed at a fixed distance to ensure a focused image. Image Processing code has been developed to detect tuberculosis cells which are which were illuminated using fluorescence.

LUCAS, the lens free cellphone microscope designed at University of California, Los Angeles, also has high sensitivity combined with low cost (excluding labor and the custom-made plastic components other significant components are the LED (0.35 USD per piece for <10 units; 0.18 USD per piece for 2000 units) and the flat-battery (0.2 USD per piece for ≥100 units), the cost of which can be further reduced through mass-production) (Zhu, 2011). Time taken is also low as digital image reconstruction takes less than 1 second and automation levels are also low with image being captured in a wide field of view (FOV). 12

Synthetic aperture based on chip microscopy method has high sensitivity, low cost, high time taken (~45 minutes) and low automation levels (image captured in wide FOV of 20-30 mm) (Luo et al, 2014).

Detection of waterborne parasites using field-portable and cost-effective lens free microscopy has high sensitivity (less than 5 parasites/ml), low cost, low time taken and low automation levels. (Mudanyali, 2010)

Posted on:

July 18, 2014

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